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GCN : April 2015
Q&A: The Cloud While it may be tempting to make an all-or-nothing decision when it comes to the cloud, it’s not that simple. Alan Boissy, VMware’s Product Manager of vCloud Government Service, and Stuart Fleagle, Vice President of Carpathia Government Solutions, explain the differences between the different types of cloud and how federal agencies can best determine the right fit for their needs. QAre all federal applications and workloads suitable for a public cloud? ABoissy: It’s not that some clouds aren’t appropriate. It’s more about each workload and its requirements. You can’t look at your IT landscape with a mono- lithic, homogenous approach. Most applications developed in the past several years are web-enabled and modular, so they can take advan- tage of the elasticity of the cloud, and they are usually the easiest to migrate. However, deciding which applications and workloads make sense for a public cloud requires an understanding of how each application works and what its requirements are. For example, some government systems have been around for decades and aren’t designed to scale. That means that it is likely going to be either diffi- cult or cost-prohibitive for them to move to the public cloud. Addi- tionally, some applications may have to stay on premise because of security requirements. Because of the varied requirements, we believe that most government agencies will end up with some sort of hybrid, multi-cloud scenario where some workloads will stay on premise, some will have to be in specialized FedRAMP clouds to satisfy security requirements, and some will be a great fit for the public cloud. QHow can an agency determine which applications are best- suited to the public cloud versus an on-premise or private cloud? AFleagle: It completely depends on the type of application or workload. For government agencies, there will be some data and appli- cations, especially those deemed mission-critical, that will never find their way to a public or community cloud but will remain behind the fence in an on-premise environment. Then there are applications that can be hosted and managed by a secure cloud service provider. And finally, there are workloads that are appropriate for a multi-tenant, community cloud envi- ronment. The Department of Defense (DoD) is a good example of how that would work. In its guidance, DoD de- fined different categories of workloads based on security, impact levels and mission impact, and put those use cases in different categories. That’s the upfront work agencies should do to guide them to the right kind of cloud for a particular workload. QIt seems like many organizations are moving toward an enterprise cloud approach—essentially, a “cloud first” approach that steadily migrates as many data center functions and applications to the cloud as possible. What is the best way to achieve the enterprise cloud? ABoissy: There isn’t a single cloud provider that can check every box for the many different types of applications, workloads and data sets. That’s why organizations are choosing a hybrid approach to enterprise cloud. The key is finding a vendor that offers that flexibility, because it allows agencies to slowly wean themselves off of managed hosting and legacy infrastructure when and as it makes sense. The hybrid approach also provides the most flexibility, because it enables agencies to move workloads to the cloud and back again as required. QIs it more cost- effective for agencies to take an enterprise approach to cloud? Cloud Solutions and the One-Size-Fits-All Fallacy Alan Boissy, Product Manager, vCloud Gover nment Service, VMware An IntervIeW WItH Stuart Fleagle, Vice President, Government Solutions, Carpathia